As co-founder with Richard Klassen of this website, which succeeded in getting to the light of day this case which was wrapped in so many layers of court seals and publication bans guarded by cops with the power to arrest and hold us (which they freely used) and a Justice Department aggressively discrediting us to anyone who which would listen, I greeted with particular joy the part of Judge Baynton's decision where he dismisses the counterclaim of defamation by Miazga and Hansen against Richard Klassen.
As the Saskatchewan government has responded to the judge's findings by taking it to the Court of Appeal (it will be heard in chambers by Mr. Justice Calvin Tallis on Thursday) I have viewed this move as groundless and heartless.
Yes, anybody has a right to appeal to a higher court. Ya, Ya. And I have the right to maintain the earth is flat. If I exercised that right, I would subject myself to ridicule. And that is what the Saskatchewan government has done.
They had the right to do it and they have done it and it is ridiculous. Today, Saskatchewan Justice critic Don Morgan held a press conference to announce he had assured Richard Klassen he will keep up the pressure to push the government to settle. He is a justice critic and a lawyer so it is not surprising that he said with a straight face that the government had the right to appeal and even that perhaps the law needed clarification.
Clarification? How clear does it have to get? Judge Baynton's decision is clear, lucid, and appeal-proof. It relies on current authorities which have been decided by the Supreme Court. This clarity was hailed across the country in editorial comment, on talk shows and by AIDWYC lawyer, James Lockyer who has waded through a lot of muddy water to clear an impressive list of wrongfully convicted persons.
Richard Klassen presented the court with evidence he could work with. Judge Baynton went ahead and worked with it. I began to read it and couldn't put it down; it was like a new Fay Weldon novel. John Gormley read it. Many people read it and immediately sent e-mails singing its praises.
It took 15 days for the government to respond. Their response, from the lawyer and then the minister, was pretty much gobbledy-gook. Suddenly the discussion took on a severe case of McKillopitis. Obfuscation. Shucks, maybe the emperor is wearing clothes after all.
Not a chance. They wear nothing but the sheer fabric of malice.
I rest my case for this assertion on the fact they are still pursuing their defamation counter-claim. I guess the poor dears don't want to be called crooked. Hurts their feelings. Well, my pretties, if you bend the law, you get called crooked. And you all live together in your little crooked house.
Re: A judicial inquiry into the foster parent trials
I, Sheila Steele, demand that a full inquiry be held at once into the malicious prosecution of the above matter.
I, Sheila Steele demand that Crown Prosecutor Matt Miazga be arrested for covering up the rape and sodomy of an eight year old girl, in order to keep his manufactured case together.
I have here substituted my own name for Richard Allen Klassen, who posted the poster shown below, which was carefully removed from a post by the sherriff and dusted for prints in September 1993.
And, I will add to that call for a public inquiry (which I was also pasting up posters "calling for", not "demanding", a call for a full investigation into the office of the Minister of Justice to determine how it is possible that so many ministers could have gone so terribly wrong.
And I invite them to charge me with defamation. It is much too cold to be posting handbills on lamp posts. Statements posted on the Internet are subject to the same legal sanctions, if they are shown to be unfair comment, or defamatory in any way. Charge me and the dozens and hundreds who come after me. And you will have a revolution on your hands.
I guess it bites their bums that an ordinary person, previously unschooled in the law, was able to articulate what others had been afraid to say. And he got the message to a judge who crafted it into a judgment.
I reprint the part of the judgment dismissing the defamation counter-claim:
…Matthew Miazga and Sonja Hansen, two of the defendants in the main action, are the plaintiffs in the counterclaim against Richard Klassen. Richard Klassen is one of the plaintiffs in the main action and the sole defendant in the counterclaim. . . . The evidence in the main action, by the agreement of the parties, was applied to the counterclaim. Portions of the examination for discovery of Richard Klassen were read in as evidence. No oral testimony was adduced by any of the parties because the whole of the evidence adduced in the main action applies to the counterclaim.
Counsel for Miazga and Hansen suggested at trial that the outcome of the counterclaim would likely be governed by the outcome of the main action. If the plaintiffs were successful in the main action, the counterclaim should be dismissed and vice versa. But as there has been mixed success in the main action, I must consider the counterclaim on its merits.
Miazga and Hansen, the two prosecutors, claim that Richard Klassen published and distributed two posters and a letter that contained statements of fact that defamed them. Richard Klassen resists the claim on the basis that any statements contained in the posters and the letter were true as established by the evidence in this trial and any expressions of opinion constitute fair comment as defined by the law. He also contends that the first poster was not authored or published by him but he admits that one or two copies may have been inadvertently distributed by him in conjunction with the distribution of other papers. The words in the posters and letters relied upon by Miazga and Hansen as defamatory are as follows:
(a) in a document distributed widely including the postering in public places in Saskatoon at various times since February 10, 1993:
"crooked prosecutors Sonia Hanson (sic), a crooked prosecutor, used the above manufactured evidence to advance her career.
Matt Miazga, a crooked prosecutor, used the above manufactured evidence to advance his career."
(b) in a document over the signature "Richard Allen Klassen" distributed widely including by postering in public places in Saskatoon at various times since February 10, 1993 included the following entry:
"I, Richard Allen Klassen, demand that Crown Prosecutor Matt Miazga be arrested for covering up the rape and sodomy of an eight year old girl, in order to keep his manufactured case together. I, Richard Allen Klassen, demand that Crown Prosecutor Sonia Hanson (sic), be arrested for covering up the rape and sodomy of an eight year old girl, in order to keep her manufactured case together.
(c) in a letter dated November 11, 1993 and distributed widely including by postering in public places in Saskatoon at various times since February 10, 1993 included the entry: "Crown Prosecutor Matt Miazga should be held criminally responsible for aiding and abetting the criminal actions of the aforementioned people."
Some of the terms used, and the context in which they are used, are capable of different interpretations. Given a contextual yet literal interpretation, the statements of fact are not actionable because they have been proven to be true. In the circumstances of this case, the remaining terms are not actionable because they are expressions of opinion or desire and constitute fair comment.
The publication and distribution by Richard Klassen of these kinds of materials was foolish. In most circumstances they would be defamatory. He unnecessarily risked incurring liability to the prosecutors for damages. But in view of what he suffered at the hands of the prosecutors and others involved in the criminal proceedings wrongfully brought against him, his frustration is understandable. Fortunately, he redirected it into the considerable effort he has been required to expend in the preparation and presentation of his civil case. It has provided him with a much more effective and beneficial remedy than he could have ever achieved through his posters or letters.
The counterclaim of Matthew Miazga and Sonja Hansen is dismissed against Richard Klassen. I direct that the default costs provisions in The Queen's Bench Rules shall not apply to the dismissal of the counterclaim against Richard Klassen. The issue of costs shall be deferred until the issue of the quantum of damages is determined in the main action (last paragraphs of the decision)
Judge Baynton spoke of the risks Richard Klassen took to get his case off the ground, suggesting they were perhaps foolish. We hope we do not have to put ourselves at risk once again, in the course of securing the judgment.
Judge Baynton also praised Richard Klassen's actions in taking a higher road than postering and instead expending his energy on preparing his case for the civil trial.
The remedy which Judge Baynton speaks of continues to elude us. After thirteen years, waiting until September, the date which has been now been set to hear the damages portion of the trial is tortuous.
We will do what is necessary to end the torture and we know we will not be doing it alone --Sheila Steele, January 27, 2004